South Africa

ELECTION 2019 CAMPAIGN TRAIL

Ramaphosa visits Cape Town where crime, rail problems and social ills are laid bare

Khayelitsha residents crowd around to meet ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa outside Andile Msizi Hall on 27 February 2019. Photo: Aisha Abdool Karim.

On Wednesday, ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa continued on the party’s election campaign trail, this time in the DA-governed Western Cape. In a visit to Khayelitsha and the City Hall, the party leader heard that communities needed help to solve crime, the rail network needed to be improved and the spatial divide between races in Cape Town needs to be closed.

ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa must address residents’ issues with rail, gentrification and gangsterism. These were among the key concerns raised by residents during his visit to Cape Town. Across the city, in Khayelitsha, he was called on to focus on people living with disabilities in her community.

Ramaphosa was in Cape Town on Wednesday as part of the ANC’s election campaign trail ahead of the 8 May.

Community members wait for ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa outside Andile Msizi Hall in Khayelitsha on 27 February 2019. Photo: Aisha Abdool Karim.

In the afternoon, at the Andile Msizi Hall in Khayelitsha, Ramaphosa had a closed meeting with ANC provincial leaders before he embarked on a walkabout in a nearby informal settlement.

Before he could do the walkabout, he was greeted outside by a group of older people, many dressed in yellow ANC T-shirts, sitting in wheelchairs.

Ntomboxolo Stonga, a home-based care worker from Site B who has been living in Khayelitsha for 30 years, told Daily Maverick that the ANC leader’s visit was a “blessing to us”.

Stonga, dressed in an ANC head wrap, said she had been waiting since 2pm for the President to arrive, because she wanted to raise the plight of people living with disabilities, especially the plight of the older people in her community.

When the President arrived after 4pm to greet the group of old people, Stonga could not speak to him as he rushed to do his walkabout in a nearby informal settlement.

There are people living with disabilities and they don’t get any attention… there are people who live alone in shacks,” said Stonga.

As the President left the hall to do his walkabout in the TR informal settlement, one woman, 64-year-old Florence Tswane waited for her son to pick her up. She was sitting in a wheelchair because her leg was amputated in 2015 due to gangrene.

Tswane, who was a teacher in the Eastern Cape before she moved to the Western Cape, told Daily Maverick, that although she wanted to speak to the President, people crowded around him blocking her opportunity to speak to him.

Speaking of election hopes, she said: “employment was the communities’ biggest concern”.

Another elderly resident said “old people would vote for the ANC because it was part of our identity”.

Once Ramaphosa finished his walkabout in Khayelitsha, he made his way to the City Hall in the Cape Town CBD.

ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa responds to questions at Cape Town City Hall during his visit on 27 February 2019. Photo: Aisha Abdool Karim.

Here, members of the public, ANC officials, provincial ANC leadership, entrepreneurs, professionals and civil society were in attendance. While many were dressed in work clothes or dressed in traditional attire, some came dressed in green and yellow ANC colours.

At the City Hall, audience members asked Ramaphosa to look into the lived realities of those living in the Western Cape: the city’s apartheid legacy of spatial planning which prevents working-class coloured and black people from moving closer to the city, farmworker’s rights, the embattled rail network in the city, gentrification and developments in Bo-Kaap and how to combat crime and gangsterism in Cape Town.

In response, the ANC President, spoke extensively about trying to solve the province’s problems. At one one point, Ramaphosa had the audience laughing after he replied to a comment from a Khoi San leader who said “we have waited since 1652 for this”.

Yes…. 1652 is a long time, that is a long walk to freedom… Nelson Mandela only had 27 years,” quipped Ramaphosa.

Then switching back to seriousness, Ramaphosa said the issue of farmworkers “is a serious, serious problem” as it “evokes serious pain” and that he would meet once again with farmworkers, following a previous meeting when he was the country’s deputy president in November 2014.

On developments in the Bo-Kaap Ramaphosa said: “Yes it is abominable… that land has historical links to the Western Cape….. Issues that affect the community should be solved in an inclusive way.”

Ramaphosa said “transport infrastructure is top priority for us – particularly as we want the economy growing”.

The ANC President also made reference to State Capture allegations at Prasa by saying the agency “was one of those utilised”.

The President was in the city on an electioneering campaign, following Tuesday’s visit to Ekurhuleni.

Since 2009, the party has been in opposition in the Western Cape, which is the only province controlled by the DA. In the 2014 elections, the ANC gained 697,664 votes and gained 14 seats in the provincial legislature, making it the official opposition.

But who will the voters choose on 8 May?

Yes, no doubt, ANC,” said Stonga. DM

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